French retailer Darty eyes broadband venture

24 Mar 2006

The French retail chain, Darty, part of the Kesa Eltectricals group, says it plans to launch a broadband internet access service in France in the third quarter of this year. Darty hopes to utilise its national retail footprint – it has 205 stores across the whole of France – to sell triple-play phone, internet access and TV services over ADSL lines. It has signed an agreement to rent network capacity from alternative telco Completel and plans to enter a tough market dominated by incumbent France Télécom and Iliad (Free), which control around 49% and 18% of the market respectively. Smaller broadband providers such as Telecom Italia’s Alice and Club Internet, the French arm of Deutsche Telekom, have struggled to make inroads in a market characterised by low prices and aggressive marketing campaigns. Club Internet had an estimated market share of 4.4% at the end of 2005 and Alice 6.1%.